VISIT TO THE USSR
The Marx-Engels Museum in Moscow has started an original new programme for
some of the displays in its restored and enlarged premises. It is collecting together
literature and other material from the labour and progressive movements of all
countries that illustrate their activities over the past five years.
Meanwhile, the Museum is closed, but its Director, Nicholai Ivanov, a good friend of
the Marx Memorial Library, together with his staff are busy shifting exhibits and
gathering in the material for the new exhibition of contemporary left political
The Museum is part of the Institute of Marxism-Leninism, and we were delighted that
we were able also to have an informal meeting with the chief of the Marx-Engels
English Language Section, Velta Pespolova, who had been on a delegation to our
Library in September 1987. We were able to take some material, promised by our
delegation to the Institute the previous year, in particular some notes on Engels, taken
from Eddie Hayes's recordings of interviews with Robin Page Amot.
Mrs. Pespolova and her staff were greatly interested in the progress at our Library, and
were especially keen for us to supply a copy of the card index of the J ames Klugmann
Collection of Radical/Chartist material. From this will flow a two-way stream of
information of the period, covered by the Klugmann Collection.
This same card index also intrigued members of the Saltykov-Shedrin State Public
Library, whose new Director, Vladimir Nicholaivich Zeitsev, we were also privileged
to meet. He, too, told us of their expansion plans, which include a new building to be
completed in four years with space for twenty million books, and reading rooms for
two thousand readers.
We also heard of some of their plans to celebrate the 175th, anniversary on 14th.
January, 1989, of their foundation. These will feature a public exhibition of rare
books, pictures, manuscripts, publications by the library's staff and the restoration
work carried out on old books and manuscripts by the Library.
Our desire to formalise and expand the relationship between our two libraries was
warmly welcomed by Mr. Zeitsev- cemented by an exchange of presents.
From the Saltykov-Shedrin Library we heard some details of the serious fire on 14th.
February, 1988 at the Library of the Academy of Sciences in Leningrad that had
destroyed or damaged much in the news-paper and rare books collections. Staff from
both libraries had helped by drying material in their homes, and the restoration
experts of the Saltykov-Shedrin Library had tried to save surviving material from
fungus growth- something that will strike chords of sympathy from our Library, after
our own experience of fungal damage in our basement before restoration.
The Academy of Sciences has already had world-wide help, and was especially pleased
with the assistance from the Library of Congress of the USA.
MARGARET and CHRISTOPHER BRUNEL.